Effectiveness of interventions to improve medication use during rapid-sequence intubation in a pediatric emergency department

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Abstract

Purpose

Results of a study to determine whether checklist-based interventions improved the selection and administration of rapid-sequence intubation (RSI) medications in a pediatric emergency department (ED) are reported.

Methods

A retrospective study of data collected during a quality-improvement project was conducted. Data sources included the electronic health record and video review. The central intervention was use of a 21-item RSI checklist, which included guidance for the physician team leader on medication selection and timing. A quick-reference card was developed to guide staff in preparing RSI medications. The main outcomes were (1) standard selection, defined as administration of indicated medications and avoidance of medications not indicated, and (2) efficient administration, defined as an interval of <30 seconds from sedative to neuromuscular blocker (NMB) infusion.

Results

A total of 253 consecutive patients underwent RSI during 3 consecutive periods: the historical (preimprovement) period (n = 136), the checklist only period (n = 68), and the checklist/card period (n = 49). The rate of standard selection of 3 RSI medications (atropine, lidocaine, and rocuronium) did not improve. The rate of efficient sedative and NMB administration improved from 56% in the historical period to 88% in the checklist period (p = 0.005). The median duration of RSI medication administration decreased from 28 seconds (interquartile range [IQR], 23–44 seconds) in the historical period to 19 seconds (IQR, 15–25 seconds) in the checklist/card period (p = 0.004).

Conclusion

In a quality-improvement project in a pediatric ED, a checklist-based intervention improved RSI medication administration technique but not selection.

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